Can I Automate My Home Without Going Out On The Internet?

Watching back the Tech Guy podcast from a couple of weekends ago this question came up from a listener.

Can I Automate My Home Without Going Out On The Internet?

Is this something you’d want to do too? While tech companies work hard to put more of our systems online it seems there are some people that would prefer less convenience and more security.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Steve us trying to automate his house, but everything seems to have to go to a server online. How can he just control everything locally via Wi-Fi? Leo says it’s a good idea. You shouldn’t have to go through the internet in order to make changes to your home automation. Philips lights would allow him to do it. The Insteon Hub, AMX, and Crestron all would let him automate his home on his own network, according to the chatroom.

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11 Comments on "Can I Automate My Home Without Going Out On The Internet?"

  1. Stuart Billinghurst | May 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm |

    If you are one of the many UK people not served by traditional broadband due to your rural location this is essential, I’m a satellite broadband user, but avonline (my provider) block inbound traffic, so no remote control to house based services, and the 1.8s latency on each packet causes allot of services to time out…

  2. @Stuart Good point.

  3. Going out on the internet is not something that makes life easier for home automation users, it is something that makes life easier for companies that are trying to sell their home automation products. I do not believe this cloud-madness that started in recent years is good for users at all and it is even more problematic in the field of home automation systems. People should realize that using these cloud services they give away all their data to the companies that provide these services. And these companies can do almost anything they please with this data. They search it, they read it and interpret it to create profiles etc. to sell or use for their own benefit later, they use it during development as test data, … in other words they use it for everything that the law does not explicitly forbid them not to and that can generate income.

    On the other hand hackers are really pleased with this movement of data to central data centers. They do not have to hack one hundred computers to get data of one hundred users, they just hack one data center and they immediately have data of thousands or even millions users. And no data center is and never will be unhackable, especially in case of smaller companies with tight budget.

    As a developer I would never install nor recommend a home automation systems that sends any data to internet except for family members connecting over secure connection. Possibility that some hacker group silently steals data from home automation cloud service provider is very real and there are many ways how this stolen data can be abused.

  4. Peter Howarth | May 12, 2015 at 11:08 pm |

    Although I have good internet, and the software solution I use (Indigo Domotics) can be accessed via the Internet if you configure it – I can’t think of a single occasion (other than showing off to family when newly installed) when I’ve ever used the remote access away from home. Only reason I configured remote is cos 4G is stronger than wifi in some areas of my house at the moment, so I sometimes turn wifi off.

  5. It is tempting to use the convenience of the quick start products that just need you to set up a simple internet account for x,y and z but at that point the control isn’t yours to command. I would always look to use a device that didn’t require an online account to work, optional /maybe/ but if it simply didn’t work without internet connection then thats a no from me.

  6. Home Automation should not “need” the internet or a cloud based server to work or to be configured. It should be self contained in the home. The last thing you want is to have critical parts of your system failing when the internet connection goes down.

    The internet or any online services should be considered as an additional resource for more advanced decision making. Fore example things such as weather data, etc.

    Remote access over the internet when out of the house is something that I feel is very convenient for things such as security, CCTV, door entry and heating control. However these features run on the LAN and I access them remotely, they are not managed in the cloud.

  7. look at Deltadore, it is a Home Cloud with their Tydom

  8. The internet is not required with the Vera Edge but would be helpful at the time of setup to update the firmware. Without an internet connection you will not be able to receive notifications nor will it be able to store pictures or recordings taken by your cameras, it won’t be able to receive weather data, sunrise or sunset times nor will the energy app function properly. Without an internet connection your Vera connected home will still run scenes and allow you to control and or use your devices; lighting, switches, sensors, thermostats, locks,… etc.
    Marc Shenker ▾ Training Manager
    Vera Control, Ltd. ▾ Smarter Home Control

    If you would like more information on the new Vera Edge, you can see it here.

  9. I have a fairly extensive HA system, but specifically selected a system that did not require a cloud service to be able to run and change the system. Security, resilience, convenience and I have to admit an element of owning control (after all home automation is about having more control). Like many of the other commenters on here I feel that the cloud in this instance is much more for the benefit of the vendor : using your data, locking you into their platform and their future products, than it had for me

    Like Peter I use Indigo Domotics that runs on a Mac mini, I need no gateway to make it work but it is connected to the Internet, but not dependant upon it. If the Internet connection fails, everything still works, but if I want to control things while travelling I can.

    When you start to become more advanced with HA you start to integrate different systems together, lights, heating, security, and use intelligence to make them work together, recognise scenes and scenarios and use rules to make your life easier. This just becomes exponentially difficult when each part of a system potentially has its own gateway, cloud service and configurations.

    HA is supposed to be about making things simpler, standardised automated and smart. To me for the reasons above using the Internet it smart, being dependant upon it for control of your home is not so smart.

  10. My entire HA system works via GSM which is why I chose it instead of the cloud where other people/companies were effectively in control of my security.

    My HA works through my alarm panel via outputs and I receive SMS notifications for all manner of things on top of my HA. I even know if my pond pump has failed.

    My CCTV set-up was chosen on the same principle.

  11. Do we want the possibility of someone hacking our home automation systems? It has nothing to do with convenience. It is simply a matter of security.

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